Republicans, With Exception Of Trump, Now Push Mask-Wearing

It's a rare break for Republicans from Trump, who earlier this month told the Wall Street Journal that some people wear masks simply to show that they disapprove of him.

As a surge of infections hammers the South and West, GOP officials are pushing back against the notion that masks are about politics, as President Donald Trump suggests, and telling Americans they can help save lives.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican, on Tuesday bluntly called on Trump to start wearing a mask, at least some of the time, to set a good example.

“Unfortunately, this simple, lifesaving practice has become part of a political debate that says: If you’re for Trump, you don’t wear a mask. If you’re against Trump, you do,” Alexander said.

It’s a rare break for Republicans from Trump, who earlier this month told the Wall Street Journal that some people wear masks simply to show that they disapprove of him.

And the Republican nudges for the public — and the president — to embrace mask-wearing are coming from all corners of Trump’s party and even from friendly conservative media. Both Vice President Mike Pence and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in recent days have urged Americans to wear one when they are unable to maintain social distance.

Sen. Mitt Romney, a Utah Republican, told reporters it would be “very helpful” for Trump to encourage mask usage. “Put on a mask — it’s not complicated,” McConnell, R-Ky., urged Americans during his weekly news conference Tuesday.

Last week, Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming tweeted a photo of her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, wearing a disposable mask and a cowboy hat. She included the message: “Dick Cheney says WEAR A MASK #realmenwearmasks,” a hashtag that echoed words spoken earlier by the Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Steve Doocy, co-host of a Trump friendly morning show “Fox & Friends,” said during an interview with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy that he doesn’t “see any downside in the president being seen more often wearing it.”

McCarthy, R-Calif., responded that, for the upcoming holiday, “we could all show our patriotism with a red, white and blue mask.” Jacksonville, the Florida city where Trump is scheduled to accept his renomination as Republicans’ presidential candidate in August, announced a mask requirement for indoor public spaces this week.

The president’s eldest son said the new requirements were no big deal. “You know, I don’t think that it’s too complicated to wear a mask or wash your hands and follow basic hygiene protocols,” Donald Trump Jr. told Fox Business on Tuesday.

Trump aides have defended the president’s refusal to wear a mask by noting that he is regularly tested for the coronavirus, as are his aides.

Those outside the administration — including White House visitors and members of the media who are in close proximity to him and Pence — are also tested.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany didn’t directly address Republican calls for Trump to wear a mask in public more often, but noted that the president has said in the past he has no problem wearing one when necessary.

But even with safeguards, the virus has found its way into the White House.

At the briefing, which he said included about eight White House staffers, only national security adviser Robert O’Brien wore a mask, Sherman said.

He added that no one in the secure briefing room was able to maintain 6 feet (1.8 meters) of social distancing, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I learned something major, and that is the White House is a mask-free zone,” Sherman told The Associated Press.

“The president is consistent. He’s fine with people not wearing masks.”

Polls show how the partisan divide on masks has seeped into public opinion.

The vast majority of Democrats think people in their community should wear a mask when they are near other people in public places at least most of the time, including 63% who say they should always, according to a Pew Research Center poll published in early June.

In India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday addressed the nation exhorted the citizens to follow the Unlock 2 rules and regulations.

He also cited an example of a Prime Minister who was fined Rs 13,000 for not wearing a face mask in a public place.

It turns out to be that PM Modi was referring to Boyko Borissov, Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria, who reportedly violated the rule by entering a church without a face mask.

According to media reports, Bulgarian PM Borissov went to the Rila monastery in the south-western part of Bulgaria for a project to renovate the road leading to this famous religious site.

While referring to Borissov, PM Modi said, “In India too, the local administration should work with the same enthusiasm.”

PM said that this is a drive to protect the lives of 130 crore countrymen and “be it a village pradhan or the Prime Minister, no one is above the law in India”.

PM Modi also noted that the shift of the fight against coronavirus to Unlock 2 coincides with the weather which results in several ailments. He asked everyone to take care of their health.

PM Modi stated that due to the timely decisions like lockdown, it has been possible to save the lives of lakhs of people and the death rate in the country is amongst the lowest in the world.

PM Modi in his sixth address to the nation since the COVID-19 outbreak in India, also announced the extension of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana till the end of November 2020.

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